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Syria IranIn this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, wears a mask to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who also wore a mask and gloves, in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April. 20, 2020. (SANA via AP)

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Iran’s foreign minister used a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad Monday to call on the U.S. to lift sanctions imposed on both countries, during his first visit to the war-ravaged country in a year.

Iran has been a close ally of Assad in Syria’s long and bloody nine-year-long civil war, lending his government in Damascus vital military and economic support.

The remarks made by Mohammad

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